It is especially the words, “We will remember them,” in the fourth verse of “For the Fallen” by poet Laurence Binyon that play a significant role in the initiation of Veterans Day.
Nov. 11, the anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended World War I, the day offers a tribute to those who serve or have served on land, sea and in the air.
“I think about Memorial Day as the time to honor all the folks who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. However, I consider Veterans Day a little differently in that it honors folks who have made the ultimate sacrifice, but it also honors anyone who has made any sacrifice wearing the uniform,” said Cmdr. Sean Cross, of the Coast Guard Air Station in Traverse City.
“I tell my guys all of the time that the things we do in the Coast Guard have inherent risk – in almost a similar level to combat in some cases," he said. "Going out on a dark stormy night in a helicopter or fixed wing aircraft has a lot of risk to it. We have lost a couple of crews over the last five years and that proves my point. There’s sacrifice no matter what uniform you wear and you don’t necessarily have to be in a combat situation to have made a sacrifice or made a difference.”
Cross is the guest speaker at the Senior Center Network and Reynolds Jonkhoff Funeral Home celebration of Veterans Day. The event takes place at the Elks Club on Nov. 5.
Cross’s career decision was influenced by his father, who was an aviator in the Coast Guard.
“I always thought what my dad did for a career was a noble and honest profession,” Cross said. “Saving lives appealed to me. Since I wanted to be a pilot from an early age, when it came time for me to decide what I wanted to do, the mission of the Coast Guard, especially Coast Guard aviation, really appealed to me.”